I’ve heard a lot of good things about Sterling Gates in the last year or two, largely to do with his revitalization of Supergirl. With that in mind, and knowing that he’d be writing next year’s Kid Flash title, I figured I’d give his newest mini, World’s Finest, a shot. I’m still not sure how well Gates will handle the notoriously difficult Bart Allen, but World’s Finest #1 offered a quick, entertaining adventure.
For those unfamiliar with the premise, World’s Finest is a team-up book in which each issue features a different pairing between the Gotham Knights and Team Superman, all tying into a larger story. Gates does a satisfactory job of that here, introducing all his players with a relative minimum of exposition – though he goes a bit overboard with the new Nightwing, especially given that the title page already talks about his origins – and giving us a done-in-one story connected by the presence of a malevolent figure revealed in the book’s final pages. His dialogue is simple and to-the-point, and he manages to slip in a fairly clever action beat that lets them wrap up the issue’s big fight quickly.
Artist Julian Lopez does some fairly solid work here as well. See how thrilled Tim looks when he thinks the tactile telekinetic help he gets mid-fight is Conner, or the otherworldly nature of the Nightwing costume the first time we see it, or, perhaps most impressively, how he manages to make Tim look his age again in a single, relaxed panel as he contemplates something he loved and lost. Lopez’s action sequences look a little stiff, but, for the most part, he provides clean, simple art that works well with Gates’ script.
World’s Finest isn’t particularly revolutionary, but it is fun. A reasonably solid action comic with a brief, reluctant touch of drama, it’s opening issue provided a nice bit of superheroic escapism. The good guys prevail, an even bigger bad is revealed, and in the end, everything stays the same. Slight, but engaging.
– Cal Cleary